mai 2012


How much does it cost?

Just for Kyal, Johannes and Luca, here is the translation in English of the article we published a few months ago on the cost of our sailing trip from France to New Zealand.

After all, this can also be useful to other people who would have the idea to go sailing around the world, in order to know how much money they have to save. And we have not spent some time to write down all our spendings in a superb Excel spreadsheet for nothing !!

Preliminary comment: we know that a yacht is feminine in English, but Schnaps is a boy, so we unilateraly decide that we say « he ».

The spendings before leaving

One needs to buy a yacht, repair him if it is needed, and fit him so that she is comfortable and safe to be sailed offshore.

Here is how much it costed us:



To understand these charts well, we have to explain 2-3 things:

  • Even if Schnaps was almost equiped for coastal cruising when we bought him, we made a lot of things to make him ready for safe offshore sailing (the full list is here, in French, but the length already gives an idea of the amount of work)
  • We have done everything by ourselves. Really everything, including the man overboard pole with a flashlight, except 2 single things: the arches for the cockpit and the dodger (we cannot make stainless steel fittings … yet !) and a reef line in the n°1 jib. Making everything by oneself is much cheaper than calling the professionnals, but it is much longer.
  • For all these spendings, we have always looked for the best price available, even if we had to spend a lot of time doing the market study. Ebay was one of our best friends, but also the suppliers from the other side of the Channel, often cheaper than the French ones !

A few details on each category:

  • Deck fittings : 3780€

chainplates, pulleys, shackles, ropes, stainless steel bolts, charts, furler… The biggest single expenditure in this category is the windvane (our very very good friend Raymond), and most of the rest is a sum of many many very small expenditures.

  • Electricity-Electronics : 4680€

full refit of the electric circuit, split-charge device, a few devices for the on-board computer, the SSB, the lightning protection. A few supplementary numbers for this category:

SSB (transceiver + tuner + modem) 2240€ (the first transceiver we had bought was KO)
LEDlights everywhere in the boat: less than 200€
refit of the electric circuit: 1530€, this grows quickly with the wires, the waterproof switchboard, fuse holders and fuses, connexions, switches, battery switches, ampmeters, packing boxes …

  • Energy: 3660€

The wind turbine and the hydrogenerator, with their regulators, the solar regulator, the alternator regulator and the fittings for the hydrogenerator

  • LPG: 460€

LPG connexions to enable us to refill our cylinders everywhere in the world, or use cylinders from anywhere, but also the refit of the existing installation

  • Engine: 440€

That’s Dédé the XUD! Mostly spare parts, maintenance, filters, gaskets, belts… The biggest expenditure is the replacement of the silent-blocs that we replaced when we saw that they were destroyed, while installing the copper foil for the SSB ground in the bilge.

  • Plumbing: 260€

Water tank level indicators, new hatches for the tanks, connexions and valves, hose … and if we had had the time to do it, we would have had rebuilt the tanks and all the water circuit.

  • Safety: 4280€

A heavy budget, but it is not worth saving money on such important things. Included are the parachute anchor (more than 1400€), the chain and anchor (a little more than 1000€), the distress beacon, the porthole shields, the autopilot remote controls with man overboard alarms, the pharmacy, the lifelines, the harnesses… It does not include the lifejackets, which we already had.

We did not use everything, and that’s good, but if we had to do it again we would probably buy exactly the same things.

  • Miscellaneous: 2510€

A little bit of everything and anything as it can be expected, the DIY consumables, the dinghy and its repairs, tools, fishing gear… The opportunity to verify that little streams make big rivers!

  • Arch and dodger: 1237€

the arches for the cockpit arch and the dodger and the fittings

  • Upholstery: 830€

The cloth for the dodger and the bimini, the tarpaulin for the cockpit roof, the taylor-made sheets for the front cabin, sewing thread in kilometric quantities…

  • Comfort : : 1580€

unbreakable dishes, heating and assoociated plumbing, a new resistance for the water heater, cloth to make new cushion covers… The biggest expenditure is the heating installation (1100€ for the diesel heater, the radiators and especially the plumbing).

The spendings during the trip

The spendings are counted from the 16th of July 2009 to the 13th of October 2011 (we stopped counting all the running costs at that moment).


We planned to have running costs of around 1000€ per month for food, fuel and living costs. We have quite well respected this prevision but … but we had not planned that the equipment spendings would explose. Thanksfully we had a safety matress for this kind of expenditure, but we would have prefered to keep it intact…

Click to zoom in


It is obvious that April 2011 was not not very favourable to big spendings, as all of it was spent at sea !

One can also see that we had 3 difficult moments for the equipment : the genoa winches in Ireland, the autopilot computer in Martinique and finally the standing rigging in Polynesia. The last green block is Victor, the new outboard for the dinghy, we were fed up with rowing all the time.

If we remove the 3 difficult moments, we reach an average of 310€ per month, which is not negligible.

And speaking about that, concerning the insurance (the pink block), we learnt at our expense that it was better to keep the money spent in a full-risk insurance policy to spend it in true safety things at the insurance company is not really prone to refund anything when it should.

The biggest running costs are the groceries, that’s logical (a little less than 500 € per month on average). Then, that’s the harbours and the Panama Canal (in the same category). On this aspect, our Pacific crossing, without any stay in a marina, was quite interesting !

The ‘Miscenalleous’ category is rather significant: 1600€ / month, made of spendings for the laundry, wireless, phone calls, taxis and buses to go to the shops, a few souvenirs but not that much (our souvenirs are mostly drinkable or eatable, so they are in the groceries category), picasa storage space, blog hosting, postcards, stamps…

The « restaurant and leisure » category, that’s our little pleasures. A meal in a restaurant from time to time, car rentals and associated petrol, taxis and buses to go to the hikes, and all that…

The insurance is unfortunately just after, by order of size.

The fuel for Schnaps (diesel for Dédé the XUD – our inboard engine – petrol for the outboard and LPG for the stove) costed us 135€ / month on average, which is significant.

After that come very unpleasant spendings: customs and formalities. Let’s be brief and precise: it was very expensive in Panama, Tonga and Fiji.

Then we have the maintenance, which is reduced to the bottom paint that we put on our arrival in Opua.

Voilà! If we had to do it again, we would not change a lot to our previsionnal budget. We would maybe think of replacing the rigging before leaving (to spare ourselves some scary moments as well !), we would only subscribe to a civil liability insurance and we would select our destinations to avoid the paperwork fees. But we would still plan to have a good safety matress, if something happens!

And if there is only one thing to remember, it’s that everything costs always more than expected, both in time and money (but Johannes, you already know that, for sure!)…

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